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5 Ways to Make Social Waves

By Sharlie Peterson

In the last few years, I have become known by many of my aqua peers as the ‘Social Media Queen’ because of all the photos and videos I post both to build up class interest and to share tips/comedy with other instructors in our industry.

But why did I begin posting so often?

When I began my Aqua Fitness teaching career in 2017, I quickly realized the facility I taught at was not going to advertise my classes for me.

What better way to advertise my brand than on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, where all my friends can be found in one place and see what I’m up to?!

Social media is the number one tool that has helped me to get my company, Shockwave Aqua Fitness, to where it is now - even being recognized as Best of Topeka.

You might be thinking, that’s great for YOU, but I have no clue where to start! Have no fear - Sharlie is here! Social media can be very overwhelming when it comes to how you will advertise yourself as an instructor.

Here are a few quick guides on how you can build YOUR brand and start attracting more class members and social media followers.

Create Your Brand: Whether you’re an instructor working for a facility or you’re starting up your own aquatic fitness company, people need a way to find you and check out what you’re doing in the water world. Coming up with a creative name is the first step in selling yourself!

  • AquaFit_With_Your Name Here, Aqua Zumba with _, Wave Shakers, etc. Don’t be afraid to get creative and find the perfect name for your brand! I came up with ‘Shockwave’ because I want people to enter the pool and be SHOCKED at the power of the waves. See what I did there?

Start a Page: Facebook and Instagram are your new best friends! By creating both a Facebook and Instagram business page, you can separate your work and private life and give people in your community an easier way to find you. You can also link several social media pages together so that your followers and class members can see what you’re up to on various platforms.

Content: Now that you have a page, what on earth do you post?! I’ve personally found the best way to keep interest is to post at least 3-4 times a week. This keeps your brand active and engaging.

  • Posting quick clips of your workouts (30 second to 1 minute clips are great - don’t give it all away!), upcoming class schedules, workout tips and events are great ways to keep your followers involved. However, it can be easy to get caught up with life and forget to make a post or two…or three.

A great tool that Facebook offers is the ability to schedule posts for specific days and times. I like to sit down each Sunday evening and plan out a majority of my posts for the week so I don’t have to worry about it!

Networking: Keeping your class members and community active on your socials is one thing, but it’s also important to interact with your peers and stay up to date on upcoming events along with sharing your own events and opinions.

There are several great groups on Facebook, such as Water Fitness Instructors and Aquatic Fitness Instructors that are wonderful for giving and asking for advice from your peers. I’ve made several instructor friends through these groups and have learned a great deal about equipment and upcoming training events.

And, don’t be afraid to post in these groups to show other instructors what you’re doing in your neck of the pool!

Stand Out: There are so many amazing aquatic instructors who are making social waves on various platforms. This is where YOUR creativity and individuality will help you to shine and set you apart. Learn from what others are posting and then figure out what you can do to stand out and draw others in!

I have found my own niche to be making comedic videos on Tiktok that address common stigmas of aqua fitness, just like Jenni Lynn and her S’WET team have made their mark on showing how powerful the water truly is.

How will YOU be a Wave Maker?!

These are just starting blocks to help you succeed in a world that is social media-focused. I realize that this digital world doesn’t come easy to most, and one service I have begun to offer is Digital Consultations.

If you are a new instructor just starting up, or an instructor who’s been around the block but needs that online help, I am happy to chat with you!

The internet can oftentimes be a scary place, but I promise it can also be one of the most beneficial tools to you as an instructor. Aqua Fitness is becoming more and more popular through social media platforms, and it’s all thanks to a list of instructors - a list that your name should be added to!

Please feel free to email me directly at



Sharlie Peterson began her aqua fitness teaching career in 2017 in Wichita, Kansas after her mother invited her to a water fitness class. She was instantly hooked and wanted to teach, but knew it would be on her to advertise and get her name and class styles out there. She created her now signature class, Aqua Jam, which is a favorite among her class members to this day.

In 2019, Sharlie moved with her mother to Topeka, Kansas, and created Shockwave Aqua Fitness. Shockwave was created to establish Sharlie’s goal of creating fun and effective aquatic fitness classes throughout Kansas and the midwest by breaking the stigma that aqua fitness is just for older adults.

The water is a powerful tool that every age and body type should be able to enjoy! Sharlie currently teaches in Topeka and has built her Facebook Shockwave group of nearly 1000 class members and is currently working on getting her AEA certification. Future plans? To start traveling to teach other instructors how to build their own brand and be successful with or without the help of their pool facilities. She also enjoys long walks through the Sunflower fields and sweating profusely in the Kansas humidity.




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